Increasing milk supply

Tackling low milk supply

Is your supply actually low?

  • It is important to remember that there are many things to consider when trying to determine breastmilk supply
    • If you are not EXCLUSIVELY pumping, then the amount of milk you get when you pump is not an adequate predictor of your overall supply.
  • Breastmilk is made through supply and demand, meaning the more you empty the breast, the more milk your body will produce
    • When you empty your breasts via pumping or efficient breastfeeding session, your body then responds with some hormonal changes that result in increased milk production
  • Babies cry often (it's their only way to communicate!), they get gassy, they don't sleep sometimes - these are all normal newborn behaviors that don't necessarily mean they're not getting enough milk.
  • If you think your supply is low, it is recommended to speak to an IBCLC who can help you rule out underlying issues and determine if low supply is the issue.

Making more milk

  • You've determined that your supply needs a little boost with the help of your IBCLC. What's next?
  • Empty the breasts!
    • Breastfeed as frequently as your baby needs
    • Don't limit the time on one breast if your baby is still actively sucking on that side
    • Make sure baby is nursing effectively, meaning you have a good latch, proper positioning, and are seeing/hearing sucking and swallowing
    • If not breastfeeding, then pump both breasts at a time for a full 15-20 minutes, or until you see milk slow to a trickle for 1-2 minutes.
  • Take a nursing vacation! Stay in bed with your baby for a full day or two and just relax, nurse as much as possible, eat meals together, etc. The key is to RELAX :) 
  • Pumping directly after a breastfeeding session will help up-regulate your milk supply. 
    • This will trigger the hormones in your body to produce more milk. Remember it's supply and demand!
  • Try to avoid pacifiers whenever possible. 
    • If baby is awake and crying, they're likely hungry so put them to breast during these times
  • Power pump!
    • This is done by pumping and resting in intervals for a full hour.
    • It is best to do a power pump in the evening or before bed, when your milk hormones are increasing production.
    • Example: pump x 20 min, rest x 10 min - pump x 10 min - rest x 10 min - pump x 10 min - rest x 10 min (60 minutes total)

Foods and Supplements

  • Make sure you're staying hydrated! Aim for 100 oz of water per day!
  • If you'd like to add in some "galactogogues" to possibly help boost your milk supply- here are some of our favorites:*
    • Oats
    • Chia seed
    • Flax seed
    • Fenugreek
    • Fennel
    • Alfalfa sprouts
    • Barley
    • Brewer's yeast
    • Goat's Rue
    • Milk thistle
  • Supplements can be helpful in many cases as it allows you to get these ingredients in an easy capsule form. Here are some we recommend:*

* It is not guaranteed that these will increase supply, but done in appropriate doses and amounts, it can be beneficial.